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Jack Weber

March of Events

(12 October 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 42, 12 October 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Britain Prepares ...

The imperialist nation with the greatest colonial empire naturally has the most to lose in the attempt by lesser powers to redivide the world, and reallocate the raw materials and the markets that mean life and death to modern capitalism. By its invasion of Ethiopia Italy has served notice that the time has come for the posing of this question once more in Europe, as well as in the entire world. The preparations that were being made for the inevitable world war have been tremendously accelerated by this event. Not only has there been a dizzying speeding up of the production and stocking of munitions and the raw materials that enter into their making, but the diplomatic preparations in the maneuvering for alliances have been given a staccato tempo. Eden for England, Goering for Germany, Beck for Poland hasten from capital to capital seeking the best bargains in the holocaust each is helping to prepare. Baldwin announces that England’s previous preparations have been mere play compared to what is to come, for Britain is about “to rearm in earnest.” This imperialist rearmament is cloaked under the hypocrisy of defending peace. The “sanctions” of the League of Nations is in reality the sanctioning of this rearmament for keeping the exploited colonial peoples under the brutal heel of British imperialism. The robber League of Nations now becomes the instrument par excellence for creating the illusions of “right and justice,” for justifying social patriotism, for binding the working class hand and foot and delivering them helpless into the bloody, hands of the bourgeois ruling class. The propaganda for justifying imperialist war is made to center around the League of Nations and its “sanctions.”

* * *

Stalinism Aids the Bourgeoisie ...

Why shouldn’t Baldwin use the arguments of justification presented to him by Stalin? What better method could he adopt than this for fooling the proletariat? Baldwin tells the British workers that England is preparing for war “not only because of Italy’s present defiance, but because of the challenge which all dictatorships have thrown down to the free, peoples of Europe.” This is the poisonous propaganda of the Comintern taken up, as was only to be expected, by those whom it will benefit. This is the attitude that motivates the “People’s Front,” the vicious distortion of the united front that makes of it an instrument not of the revolutionary proletariat, but of class collaboration and truce with one’s own bourgeoisie. Stalinism helps the capitalists in the so-called democratic countries to send their workers willingly to the slaughter. Meantime the British ruling class propose, purely in the interests of democracy, no doubt, to take all precautions against the workers at home. Their first proposal is to concentrate government power in the hands of their most direct and most reactionary representatives, rather than to permit any less reliable indirect representative, even one like MacDonald who has proved his faithfulness to the national bourgeoisie, to remain in control. Hence the rulers are now choosing their own time for parliamentary elections so as to crushingly defeat the Labor Party on the issue of war and patriotism. In this vital struggle the Labor Party has capitulated in advance by its anti-revolutionary stand on sanctions, the League of Nations and war. This stand may please the Stalinists but it can only arouse the bitterest indignation in the heart of every revolutionary worker Who cannot but see in it the course of betrayal that was followed similarly by the Second International in 1914.


The Enemy at Home ...

The Labor Party, just as the Second International, points to the enemy abroad and helps to divert the attention of the proletariat from its main enemy, the English capitalists. In imperialist war the capitalist class is driven by necessity to extend the sphere of its exploitation for the very purpose of preserving the system of capitalist exploitation at home. Success of the bourgeoisie in such a war means its success in fastening ever stronger chains on the working class at home. The effort of the English workers to free themselves from capitalist exploitation means also the effort to free their colonial brothers under the heel of the same enemy. The effort of colonial peoples to secure or to maintain national independence is at the same time a blow struck at the enemy of the workers at home, a strengthening of the workers and a weakening of the capitalist exploiters. Thus the best way to help free the colonial peoples under the domination of imperialism, is to strike at the imperialist masters in one’s own country. The Ethiopian people must be defended not only against Italian imperialism, but against English imperialism as well, which intends soon to send in its own troops to seize the Lake Tana region. In short, the fight against imperialism is an international struggle in which each section of the proletariat must fight against its own bourgeoisie.

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